By Staff Report

The population of Florida has grown much faster than the nation as a whole, especially in the second half of the 20th century. Since 1952, population growth of Florida was lower than the overall national level of growth for only two years, in 2008-2009, after Florida was hit especially hard by the Great Recession.

For young families looking for a great place to settle and raise their children, Florida has a lot to offer. With a median home value of $160,200, homes are cheaper in Florida than the national median of $176,700. This has led to a homeownership rate of 67.1 percent that exceeds the national average of 64.9 percent.

In addition to great value, residents can find excellent schools, smaller communities and balance across the state.

Valrico resident Barbara Ayscue said, “I moved to Valrico 32 years ago and have raised my three sons here. It is centrally located between the theme parks of Orlando and the beautiful beaches on the Gulf. There are so many opportunities for all ages from cultural activities to sports.  I feel Valrico is a friendly, safe, and fun place to live, work, and play.”

Valrico, located about 14 miles east of Tampa, provides the rare combination of affordability, quality amenities and strong economic growth. This city is ranked high at number six out of 180 from personal finance website Nerd Wallet.com’s Best Cities for Young Families report. Following close behind at number 11 is Apollo Beach and at number 13 is Riverview. To create this ranking, there were four key factors that were analyzed: home affordability, prosperity and growth, education quality and family friendliness.

The median home price of $194,200 is among the lowest in the top 10, a solid value for residents who get access to a school system that scored eight at GreatSchools. A median family in Valrico saw income grow 62.88 percent since 1999, one of the best performances in the state. Yet only 26.5 percent of households are families with children, which is below the top 10 average of 29.3 percent, making Valrico something of a hidden gem for young families.

For more information on this study from Nerd Wallet, visit www.nerdwallet.com/blog/cities/best-cities-young-families-florida-2015/.